The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AF) welcomes President Rodrigo Duterte’s efforts to expand security ties with India as this could pave the way for a much “wider and broader cooperation” with other Asian counterparts.
Col. Edgard Arevalo, chief of the AFP public affairs office, said expanding security ties with India would enable the Philippines to have a closer look at the training and equipment of the Indian armed forces.
Arevalo said a technical working group was looking into possible Indian defense equipment which could consider for AFP acquisition.
“Remember that this is not only India we have had military-to-military engagements, but we have also had Pakistan in the past, we have had Russia, China, Brunei, Australia, of course, the United States of America,” Arevalo said.
He said these countries were interested in collaborating with the Philippines, particularly in the areas of humanitarian assistance and disaster response, as well as countering and preventing violent extremism
Last week, Duterte and India Prime Minister Narendra Modi met in New Delhi for the India-ASEAN Commemorative Summit.
During the visit, Duterte stressed that both the Indian and ASEAN military must cooperate in combating modern-day terrorism and threat of piracy.
The four agreements signed were in the areas of defense and logistics cooperation, agriculture, cooperation in the field of micro, small, and medium enterprises and for collaboration between the Indian Council of World Affairs and the Foreign Service Institute of Philippines.
The President said Indian businessmen were interested in investing in the Philippines despite the ongoing martial law in Mindanao.
“But I was the first to say that: Maybe just avoid that western portion of Mindanao, especially down to the archipelagic Zamboanga,” he said.
“If you have the map of the Philippines, your left is the Western side, just avoid it. Visayas, Luzon, and some parts of Mindanao — Davao, maybe Butuan, there’s a less unless there will be something coming up in the days to come,” he added.#